...continued from The Frog Inflicted Princess
"And then that stupid frog actually retrieved my golden ball" Princess Ava recounted to her mother, Queen Dinah, at the dinner table. "What a sucker!"
"I do wish you wouldn't speak like that" the Snow White Queen lamented, frowning at her sass-mouthed daughter over a forkful of quail tongues. "It's most unbecoming."
The princess pouted but had to stop when she discovered it was physically impossible for the over fives to pout and eat at the same time. Meanwhile, the queen took on a far away look as she chewed on her mouthful. After unconsciously ensuring that every morsel from her mouth had been swallowed, Queen Dinah remarked quietly to no one in particular "That frog must have had opposable thumbs. And vocal chords... How enchantingly peculiar."
"What?" Ava muttered. Her mother ignored her and carried on eating while looking thoughtful. Ava rolled her eyes and resumed eating her meal, only to be disturbed again. This time by a wet scraping sound. The sound was coming from just outside the dining room french doors that led out to the gardens. She looked around from her high-backed chair and through the glazed doors. There was nothing there, yet the sound continued. Before she could get up to take a closer look, the queen swept past her in a rustle of satin chintz and opened the doors. There on the step was the disgusting frog who had rescued her ball from the depths of the woodland pool. And it looked pretty pleased with itself.
"Your majesty" the frog grovelled pathetically. "Your daughter, the b'eautiful P'rincess Ava, p'romised me a kiss in return for her b'all, which I recovered from the cold, dark dep'ths of a woodland p'ool." The frog paused dramatically, glaring at the princess with something approaching longing. He studiously ignored the queen's artful retreat from his showers of spittle. "I have come to enab'le her to keep her p'romise."
Princess Ava, her eyes wide, almost choked on her asparagus. "What the-"
"Do come in, noble frog" Queen Dinah said interrupting her daughter and ushering the frog in. "Won't you join us at the table? We've just started dinner."
Ava looked horrified as her mother lifted the frog to a spare setting. Unseen by the queen at the opposite side of the table, Prince LeJour stuck his tongue out at Ava as the frog was lowered gently to the table top with a smug look on its face.
"Now" said the queen rather sternly, turning to the frog as she resumed her seat "I understand you blackmailed my daughter for a kiss?"
This time it was the frog's turn to look horrified. "B'ut... B'ut..." it stuttered, showering its immediate vicinity in sticky saliva.
"Don't worry. I have an idea of what has really transpired" And how to resolve this matter, amongst others, she thought.
~ ~ ~
After an almost silent, atmospherically seething dinner, Princess Ava let her knife and fork clatter down on to her empty plate, momentarily startling her mother and brother, not to mention the frog, who burped in shock.
"I'm going to my room" Ava announced as she rose from the table.
"Very well, dear" her mother replied, not looking up.
"Take me with you, P'rincess" the frog implored, his bulging, glistening eyes widening.
"Rack off!" Ava snapped.
"Dear!" the queen admonished. "Remember your promise. Now, be nice to that frog and take it upstairs with you. You obviously don't want to kiss it down here infront of us, otherwise you'd have done so by now."
" * huff * " Princess Ava glared daggers at her brother, LeJour, as he sniggered into his ruffles. "Come on then" she said to the frog, relenting and lifting it down from the table top. "But I'm not carrying you up there. You can make your own way up." And with that she dropped the frog onto the stone tiled floor and stormed off upstairs. The frog slowly hopped after her.
~ ~ ~
A little while later, the frog reached Princess Ava's room and managed to push open the door which had been left ajar. It hopped across the floor and climbed up the sheets onto the bed where Ava had thrown herself in an indignant rage.
"P'rincess" the frog spluttered. "Can I come up that end and sit on your p'illow to be near you?"
"What?" Ava snapped, turning away from her book. "Aaaaaiiieee! Get off my bed!" she shrieked, picking up the despicable creature and throwing it across the room where it hit the wall with a wet thud before sliding down to the floor out of her sight. "Eewwww! Ick" she sneered, wiping her hand on the duvet cover, oblivious in her disgust to the faint * glingle glingle * sound coming from across the room.
She collapsed, laying on her back, staring at the ceiling, wishing she were somewhere else instead. It wasn't long before exhaustion from the day's activity caught up with her and she fell asleep.
At the bottom of the damp trail on the wall marked by the frog's descent, something rather larger than the frog stirred...
Continued in The Frog Prince...